Sacred and profane, public and private, emotive and ritualistic, internal and embodied, medieval weeping served as a culturally charged prism for a host of social, visual, cognitive, and linguistic performances. Crying in the Middle Ages addresses the place of tears in Jewish, Christian, and Islamic cultural discourses, providing a key resource for scholars interested in exploring medieval notions of emotion, gesture, and sensory experience in a variety of cultural contexts.
Gertsman brings together essays that establish a series of conversations with one another, foregrounding essential questions about the different ways that crying was seen, heard, perceived, expressed, and transmitted throughout the Middle Ages. In acknowledging the porous nature of visual and verbal evidence, this collection foregrounds the necessity to read language, image, and experience together in order to envision the complex notions of medieval crying.
Table of Contents
Selected Contents: Introduction:"Going They Went and Wept": Tears in Medieval Discourse Elina Gertsman Prolegomenon: Considerations of Weeping and Sincerity in the Middle Ages Lyn A. Blanchfield Part 1: Tears and Image 1. Women Mourners in Byzantine Art, Literature, and Society Henry Maguire 2. The Eve Fragment from Autun and the Emotionalism of Pilgrimage Marian Bleeke 3. Weeping Women: Social Roles and Images in Fourteenth-Century Tuscany Judith Steinhoff 4. The Paradoxical Rhetoric of Tears: Looking at the Madrid Descent From the Cross Felix Thürlemann Part 2: Tears and Religious Experience 5. A Penitent Prepares: Affect, Contrition, and Tears Christopher Swift 6. "He Cried and Made Others Cry": Crying as a Sign of Pietistic Authenticity or Deception in Medieval Islamic Preaching Linda G. Jones 7. Si Puose Calcina A’ Propi Occhi: The Importance of the Gift of Tears for Thirteenth-Century Religious Women and Their Hagiographers Kimberley-Joy Knight 8. Weeping as Discourse between Heaven and Earth: The Transformative Power of Tears in Medieval Jewish Literature Rachel S. Mikva Part 3: Tears And Narrative 9. The Shedding of Tears in Late Anglo-Saxon England Tracey-Anne Cooper 10. Tears and Trial: Weeping as Forensic Evidence in Piers Plowman Katherine K. O’Sullivan 11. A Sorrowful Song: On Tears in Chrétien De Troyes’s Philomena Irit Ruth Kleiman 12. Crying in Public and in Private: Tears and Crying in Medieval German Literature Albrecht Classen Coda: Transmitting Despair by Manuscript and Print Barbara H. Rosenwein
Elina Gertsman is Assistant Professor of Art History and Art at Case Western Reserve University. She is the author of The Dance of Death in the Middle Ages: Image, Text, Performance (2010), and the editor of Visualizing Medieval Performance: Perspectives, Histories, Contexts (2008).